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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots

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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots

Old 21st Jun 2014, 01:39
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Some bandwidth – in a worthy cause.

Please consider the following, sent to a local MP...

June 20 2014


My name is XXXX. I am a professional pilot of 40 plus years standing and 17,000 accident free flying hours; bar one successfully mitigated helicopter engine failure in 1979. Flying has always been my passion and my life. I currently work in an overseas environment although I always maintain my Australian licences.

In 1970 when I took my first aviation medical it was quite a shock to be classified as colour vision abnormal as there had been no previous indication of any detrimental effect on my life thus far. However, this medical assessment had a significant impact on me in many ways for the rest of my life.

Despite a sense of discrimination and imposition thereafter on behalf of the aviation regulator, I, like many other similarly assessed pilots, persisted in the pursuit of a (somewhat limited) rewarding career.

Within that pursuit I have obtained Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) qualifications in both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft capacities, as well as Instrument Ratings (IR) for both categories of aircraft. I have also flown both fixed wing and helicopters at night under Night Visual Metrological Conditions (NVMC) rules, (a capability brought about by the successful case of Denison vs CASA in the 1980’s). There has never been an adverse circumstance from this undertaking; i.e. night flying.

I also hold an Australian Airline Transport Pilot Licence Helicopter (ATPLH) which is the licence required for regular public transport but it is endorsed such that I cannot exercise the privileges of that licence. This is a strange imposition because although I am considered safe and capable of flying a helicopter by myself under Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) at night I am further considered unsafe to fly at night in a multi crew environment most likely conducted under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), a style of flight requiring little or no visual reference to the outside world. So it seems I am safer by myself at night than with another equally competent pilot??

Recently I received what appears to be a generic letter from CASA which seems to infer that Australian operators have been advised that anybody classified as colour vision abnormal under their employ has literally overnight become clearly unsafe and their future operational capacity as a safe pilot should be reassessed. How is this suddenly possible? How can a government body spread such apparently slanderous innuendo?

In my mind this communication appears tantamount to a legally unfair and possibly slanderous besmirchment of many safe pilots and would possibly be the ruination of many successfully proven long standing careers. This is an area beyond my capacity but it does seem that legal or at least administrative or political scrutiny toward CASA is warranted on this matter.

To that end I would like to bring to your attention the activities of the Colour Vision Defective Pilots Association (CVDPA) under the determined stewardship of Doctor Arthur Pape, (although I personally detest the term ‘defective’.) Dr Pape has at his disposal a significant amount of records in respect of the issues discussed in this letter.

As CASA is about to unilaterally destroy the careers, livelihoods and lives of many people, ostensibly on an unfounded whim, and without apparent recourse on behalf of the targeted professionals; I implore you to liaise with Dr Pape and the CVDPA in pursuit of this matter. The CVDPA may be reviewed at their website Colour Vision Defective Pilots Association (CVDPA). Dr Pape may be contacted directly at [email protected]

In appreciation of your positive response,

Captain XXXX

ATPLH, CPLA, B. Aviation; Certified Aviation Safety Auditor.
The Australian relaxation of CVD restrictions has a 25 year safety history to support the case. This (IMO) is important to fellow aviators – internationally. Properly presented to ICAO, a light could have been shone into many lives, based against sound case evidence for relaxation of the restrictions placed on CVD pilots. The Australian authority proposes to regress 25 years rather than accept, embrace and celebrate the substantive facts and present those to the world. There's a lot more at stake than 300 Australian pilots who may be affected to the degree where careers are ended.

more here – The Empire strikes back -

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Old 21st Jun 2014, 02:56
  #202 (permalink)  
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Time for the pineapple fritter

In regards to the ABC report, well done Johnno, well done. It takes balls to go on TV, take a stand against CAsA and maintain your dignity. The IOS welcomes you with open wings. (Just watch your back though as Fort Fumble won't we so pleased )

A further acknowledgment of appreciation is owed to the ABC for being interested in this issue, and to Senator Fawcett who really is a man of integrity. His suggestion that the Commonwealth fund the AAT appeal is totally warranted and it should be accepted, F/O Obrien is an innocent man and should not have to be subjected to the CAsA technique of running you out of money and to the wall. A further thank-you is also owed to Dr Liddell.

The IOS remain in favour of the termination of any CAsA signatory who took part in this current issue including the authoring of that infamous letter (which should be used rather liberally as toilet paper immediately). The DAS trio, Ferreday, Herr Pooshan and Flying Fiend need to go, now!! Mr Truss you are sitting atop a ticking time bomb and your thumbs still remain firmly embedded up your asshole. You need to take action, dispose of these CAsA incompetents as well as their support mechanism - the Board and Mr MrDak. It is only a matter of time until all aviators unite and make your political existence untenable and a living hell. The choice is yours Warren.

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Old 21st Jun 2014, 03:33
  #203 (permalink)  
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Well I think that statement is as simple and uneducated as you are.
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Old 21st Jun 2014, 03:53
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All-Female Aircrews

Here is another example of our forward thinking PMO

Just to clarify I in no way agree with his position. I was told by a female college the other day that as more female pilots come into the industry they were going to rename the "cockpit" the "box office".

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Old 21st Jun 2014, 03:55
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ERRR?? what makes you think they cant???
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Old 21st Jun 2014, 04:15
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25 years of safe CVD aviating proves they don't have a problem recognising green red lights. Not one known incident or accident. So rest easy mate, your CVD captain will still keep a cool head while you're filling your little undies in an emergency. The CVD aviators are colour deficient, not colour blind airsupport. You are untitled to your own uneducated opinion though. It's does sound a little like you are quite the amateur with statements like that, either that or a representative from CAsA itself trolling on a real aviators forum.
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Old 21st Jun 2014, 05:30
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Quick unabrasive question for ATCO's.

Do all, (or any), of the major towers in Aust have red green white signal lights? Curious that's all.
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Old 21st Jun 2014, 07:36
  #208 (permalink)  
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can you believe this...

I am told in a phone conversation just now that the CAsA working group and industry representatives working on the wording of the new legislation have no awareness that any of this CVD rubbish is occurring.

I was gobsmacked.
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Old 21st Jun 2014, 20:37
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Timing and the whims of the gods.

Bill - If I were in public office, I would be very careful of my word selection when it came to matters pertaining to, or dealing with 'the ladies'. It would be a grave error to underestimate the determination, intelligence and horsepower they can muster; both overt, as in politics and covert, as in opinions exchanged over breakfast. A man in public office needs to make certain that the Canberra 'ladies groups' do not discover a mile wide misogynistic streak or genuinely chauvinistic attitude in dealing with the fair sex. They would tear him apart, so lets keep that our little secret.

W8 – What you are witnessing is history happening. If you care to time line the whole CVD project you can see where and how the home team got beaten. Check back through Hansard – pay attention to Fawcett v CASA on CVD. Someone dropped a bollock, a team mate was run out and the very next batsman – caught behind for duck; top order collapse. Bloody good wicket keeper is Fawcett, especially when Xenophon is bowling.

But the really interesting stuff was happening below the surface, the CVD tribe as individuals are easy to pick off, one at a time - see Bill Smith – this was all to be a clandestine operation; smooth and easy, without the need to consult either industry or science; just an ego soothing rule change, providing a big tambourine to bang at medico gab fests.

It is also worth having a peep back at timing in relation to the release of the Forsyth recommendations. It's tedious, but the picture which emerges is fascinating. Once you have your time line – read the CASA response......

Only my opinion of course, but I can't see how the university can continue to support blatant misuse of title and privileges; nor how the minister can continue to support or tolerate the fatally flawed, discredited Avmed edifice.

Two hopes for the IOS; that the new DAS is a man of vision and common sense; and, the minister grows a pair. Both easily dashed hopes, so pray to whichever of the gods suits you best that the new CASA is not gifted to one of the existing 'groomed' goons.

Toot toot
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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 01:27
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Chronology research.

As requested – for those inserted in time lines and background research.

From Estimates. CVD 1.


P7. a.k.a. TOM..
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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 01:48
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Time lines are important.

Did the CAsA purge on CVD pilots happen just to spit in the eye of the Forsyth review. Or was it a previously determined change to the rules to neuter any AAT decisions with contemporary as opposed to historic "facts" on the table?

It wouldn't be the first time the rules have been changed to suit the situation. If you look carefully at the Fawcett video he seems to support this notion by suggesting the AAT CVD matter be funded from "Public Interest and Test Case" scheme" money. (Watch from about 6:25 onward ABC 7:30 report).


Whatever the answer, CAsA's actions are harsh and unconscionable and proof that they will do what they do until somebody stops them in their tracks. If you can't cut off their wasteful access to the taxpayers purse at least try to fund your action with those same funds which are available through the above scheme. This has the effect of leveling the uneven theatre of battle and gives rise to a permanent decision one way or the other. 50/50 odds are the best one could hope for in cases like this.

I understand "The Public Interest and Test Case Scheme is funded via The Attorney General. These funds will get matters to the High Court if necessary. A lot of significant High Court decisions come from actions like these including many with varying terms of access including Aboriginal Land Titles and Discriminatory conduct. See link below.

The only problem, (that will show itself if there is any merit to the suggestion), is that Governments don't usually back two horses in the same race if they have a predetermined view that suits their agenda.

Commonwealth public interest and test cases | Attorney-General's Department

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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 01:59
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Wingnuts, bloodnuts and umm..

Although you miss the umms, oohs and ahhs, here is the relevant section in Hansard...
Mr McCormick : I will ask the manager of the legal branch to give you that figure, Senator.

Mr Rule : There will obviously be a number of specialist witnesses called to give evidence.

Senator FAWCETT: Two? Ten? Fifteen?

Mr Rule : I am not across the precise number that would be—

Senator FAWCETT: Would I be wrong if I said 12?

Mr Rule : I could not say that that number is wrong. We are out of the ballpark, but I cannot give a confirmed number at this stage. The exchange of evidence between the parties only just finished at the end of last week, I believe, so there will be some to-ing and fro-ing as to which evidence and which witnesses are required. I can certainly take that on notice and provide a more settled estimate of that for you, if that would assist.

Senator FAWCETT: That would be good, but you must also have metrics from previous inquiries. Knowing what expert witnesses charge for their appearances, the travel and accommodation costs, the whole cost of conducting the inquiry in terms of transcript fees et cetera, have you made a provision in your budgeting for how much you anticipate this AAT case will cost?

Mr Rule : Obviously, we do do forward estimates of how much we think a case is likely to cost. Generally we do it across quarterly budget considerations, so total cost can get washed out as you conduct these cases piecemeal.

Senator FAWCETT: I am happy to add the figures up, Mr Rule, if you could give me the figures across those quarterly milestones.

Mr Rule : We can certainly take that on notice and provide those figures.

Senator FAWCETT: But would it be a reasonable expectation that it would be at least another $43,500 on top of what you have already spent, if not significantly more?

Mr Rule : It would not be out of the realms of possibility to accumulate another $40,000 in costs, no.

Senator FAWCETT: A very understated remark, Mr Rule, but thank you. Could I ask Mr McCormick or Mr Rule: in terms of whether or not you move ahead with this, my understanding is that you have an obligation, like any other Commonwealth department, to be a model litigant. As I look at this, there are about eight criteria to being a model litigant, and I see CASA is not performing particularly well on about five of them. Can I ask what the response has been to Mr O'Brien's request to reach a settlement before the hearing?

Mr Rule : A mediation was conducted in the early part of last year, which was ultimately unsuccessful. I was not aware of any other proposal to—

Senator FAWCETT: A letter from his lawyers written in, I think, February this year?

Mr Rule : I was not aware of the specific details of that proposal.

Senator FAWCETT: So you are planning to spend probably more than $100,000 and you are not aware of an opportunity to reach a settlement before the AAT hearing.

Mr Rule : I think that at different points along the way Mr O'Brien has suggested that he would be prepared to resolve the matter, but always on the basis that he have access to the privileges of his airline transport pilot licence. That, of course, has been the major sticking point from CASA's perspective, and the reason why those negotiations have not been successful.

Mr McCormick : I think we only have the legal costs as a total legal cost, but if you wish to give us on notice the specific areas in which you think we are not being a model litigant, then we will look at exactly what we have said in the past. As Mr Rule has said, my understanding is that up until now, there has not been any indication that Mr O'Brien wishes to retreat from the position of holding an ATP—
Who shot JR? Certainly writes better than he talks, kind of reminds me of a scene at a cocktail party where the Old man says...

"Come up here son and meet the good Senator...(whisper).. and stop playing pocket billiards while ogling the cocktail waitress (hired-help)..."

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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 06:48
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You want research? I'll show you research! Cop this CASA!

look up "misplaced salience" - over use of colour in human machine interfaces.

More recent guidelines stress the use of low contrast gray backgrounds and limited use of color.

check the references - it may be that CVD actually improves situational awareness by filtering out unnecessary colour detail (misplaced salience)
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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 07:14
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Sunny as I said previously, given the accident free statistics of CVD pilots perhaps it should be a prerequisite that all pilots should be CVD afflicted.
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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 10:50
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Thanks Sunfish.

I remind all that in no way would we suggest that the use of colour in present-day (or for that matter, old-day) cockpit display technology needs any modification to accommodate the CVD pilot. We have data on the most severe CVD types operating completely safely in the most modern of aircraft types (the entire Boeing and Airbus fleet). I stress this to counter the often stated (at aeromedical meetings) unreasonableness of suggestions that the advantages to colour vision normal participants of colour in the cockpit display environment should be diminished to facilitate the use of such displays by CVD individuals.

That said, the same logic doesn't apply to the "most critical" instances of colour usage in the aviation environment external to the aircraft: the PAPI. I refer the reader here to our published paper http://www.cvdpa.com/images/further_...SAM%202013.pdf
in which we describe the hazards of using colour coding in VASIS displays, as illustrated by the 2002 crash of FedEx Flight 1478 at Tallahassee Florida.
PAPI is a disaster that has without any doubt been implicated in at least one crash, and is likely to be so implicated in future crashes, and next time there won't be a CVD pilot on the flight deck to 'carry the can'. A major source of information in compiling our analysis of the FedEx crash came from a paper by Clark and Gordon, research scientist at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories, Department of Defence, Melbourne, Australia: "The Hazards of Colour Coding in Visual Approach Slope Indicators".

Australian pilots, almost without exception, bemoan the introduction of PAPI to replace the T-VASIS, an approach aid that was essentially 'shape coded' and which had huge SAFETY advantages over the PAPI. The Clark and Gordon conclusions were echoed and amplified by USA research on behalf of the FAA which provided laboratory confirmation of the reversal of red PAPI signals to 'Pink-white'. Clark and Gordon described this phenomenon as "Fail unsafe" and many airline pilots I have interviewed on this topic have confirmed they too have observed the reversal of the signals generated by the PAPI under conditions of low temperatures and high humidity, the presence of thin mist and/or sea spray (often reported in relation to Denpasar, Bali). In the end, PAPI won the competition on the basis of cost and convenience (in maintenance), but SAFETY was the loser. So much for science!
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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 19:43
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Passing strange.

Sunny, CTR and Arthur - not fair. You cannot use 'proper data' or scientific research to justify your arguments. The very notion is outrageous; facts are forbidden and logic firmly barred. So knock it off will you....What are you boys thinking....

Sharpens pencil- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -starts again.
The Australian & International Pilots Association has written directly to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss over CASA’s handling of the Debate over colour vision deficiency CVD affected pilots.
Good to see; the AIPA have weighed into the debate and seem to think the CVD issue important enough to send a letter directly to Minister Truss; - Phelan – Proaviation – has published a short article which gives the gist of that important letter. We should note the AIPA has now provided the CVD debate, Senate and Forsyth with valuable, balanced, intelligent, positive views on matters aeronautical. AIPA should be congratulated on and complimented for their efforts on behalf of their members and industry. Well done...

Despite the opinion consigning a topic of some international significance to the GA board, clearly the AIPA, AFAP and VIPA believe it to be an important issue which affects their members.

Despite the opinion consigning a topic of some international significance to the GA board; why is a situation which could, potentially, have earned the credit impoverished regulator a gold star for leading the way, being diminished?; dismissed as merely a GA only topic. Surely it's not to hide the regulators abysmal, regressive, degrading, embarrassing approach to the "subject"; is it? Nah.....

So, whereas Pprune may not think it significant; not a worthy topic for the ANZP board, a "sticky" and possibly an opinion counter; airline pilots, their representative associations, and others who frequent Pprune do. I find it moderately passing strange that discussion of the topic could even be rumoured to be 'passively suppressed'. But, as we all know, rumours are not always true; but they may well be....

Scrubba # 111 –"The outrage is predominantly being committed against commercial pilots and I suspect that this forum is not the first port of call for those pilots. Importantly, I also suspect that the legion of non-pilots that use PPRuNe as something of a barometer for aviation politics in Australia would not come here as a first or only window either. (my bold)."
Don't hold your breath Scrubba – some of us seem to think it internationally important, some clearly don't. Aye well; it is, after all, only an opinion based web site, although it seems freely expressing an opinion through a pawky sense of humour is actively discouraged.

[Pawky] - Having or showing a sardonic sense of humour: [Sardonic] - grimly mocking or cynical.

"Converting all your sounds of woe into Hey, nonny, nonny."

- Here -

Last edited by Kharon; 22nd Jun 2014 at 20:36. Reason: Wretched formatting system.....
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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 22:12
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Keep the buggers honest..

Hear, hear AIPA!

The PP (ProAviation) Senate Estimates quote on poohtube:

Every little bit helps, if you see one of these lob into your inbox please pass it on...

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Old 22nd Jun 2014, 22:58
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What's the problem?. CVD pilots can always get a job requiring NVG's! It's all green. Oh and wearing of tinted glasses must be immediately banned from the cockpit as they 'could' affect colour perception. An offence of strict liability of course.
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Old 24th Jun 2014, 09:06
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Interesting video. Sen Fawcett almost managed to get the "Skull" to go supersonic. One more pointed question would probably have done it. For those of you that haven't seen him go through the sound barrier, it is worth waiting for.
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Old 24th Jun 2014, 22:01
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Anticipation of an event is always more fun than reality; the thrill of the chase more exciting than the kill. Anyway – would you flog a dead horse?. I loved the bit at last estimates:-

"This is to be your last estimates" – "Yes". End of conversation; says it all really.

Toot toot.
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